Mercedes’ James Allison says the team are confident that their new DAS steering system on the W11 is fully legal, and the FIA are aware of it.
Mercedes’ James Allison has shrugged off any possibility that the innovative steering wheel trick spotted on the W11 during Thursday morning’s test session isn’t legal.
Lewis Hamilton was copped pulling back on his steering wheel down the straights of the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, with an apparent effect on the camber of the front wheels. As movable suspension devices are banned in the technical regulations, it raises the possibility that the system could be in breach of the rules.
However, Mercedes’ Technical Director James Allison says he has no concerns about the system as he explained its existence on the new car: “Probably won’t shed any great deal more light than what you saw on the TV, but we have a system in the car. It’s a novel idea, we have a name for it, it’s called DAS – it’s interesting. It just introduces an extra dimension to the steering for the driver. We hope it will be useful during the year but how we use it, and why we use it, that we’ll keep to ourselves.”
“We’re not really [concerned about legality]. This isn’t news to the FIA. We’ve been talking to them about it for some time. The rules are pretty clear about what’s prevented on steering systems and we’re pretty confident it matches all of those requirements.”
“I’m pleased we have it on the car, and it seems to be useable and we’ll find out over the coming days how much benefit it brings us.”
Hamilton was asked about his initial impression of it, and whether he felt any benefit to the Mercedes from it while in use down the straight: “I’ve only had one morning with it so I don’t have a lot to talk about it yet. It’s just about understanding it and get on top of it. Safety-wise, it’s fine, and the FIA have okayed the project. To me, it’s really encouraging to see that my team is continuing to innovate and stay ahead of the game. That’s down to the great minds working in the team and hopefully it’ll work.”
As for whether there was any distraction from having to pull back on the wheel to engage the DAS system, Hamilton simply said: “None.”